On Dating: Works or Faith?

9 Jul

Awhile back, someone told me that if I invested as much time and energy in dating as I did in my studies or career, I would probably be in a relationship. I remember feeling a bit irked by the comment. Was this a subtle way of telling me that if I just worked harder at it, I’d have success in love – or that it was somehow my fault that I was single? (And if this is the case, why do all the passionate-about-their field, neurotic heroines on television have men falling for them, not in spite of their quirks but because of them?)

I know this person just meant to be helpful and in actuality, I could be doing a little more to widen my social circle so that it included more single, available men. But it raised a very interesting question. Is love something we orchestrate through “works” – i.e. internet dating, speed dating, taking up golf or sitting at a bar, or do we leave the phenomenon of falling in love to cupid, thus engaging our faith and surrendering the whole thing to God?

Pretty much every time I’ve been in love, the process has happened completely out of the blue. Sure, I may have been out with friends or taking a class but it wasn’t anything I sought out. So, I’m a little more in favor of “faith” vs. “acts” and the importance of just living one’s life and doing things that one finds enjoyable. Yet time and again when I speak to people about being single, I feel like I’m thrown a little bit of retribution theology – i.e. if you only did more, you’d have a man by now!

Okay. I get it. The older you get, the harder it is to meet people. You have to be strategic in widening one’s social net so that you actually get out there and meet large sums of people. This week I went to a business/social networking event and it was interesting to have so many people in one room to talk with and possibly share a connection. Likewise, I know I should take up tennis or sailing or both – activities that would be fun regardless of the match (pun intended). And just sitting around praying to meet someone, (no disrespect to miracles), hasn’t been the answer either, for God helps those who help themselves. We need acts and faith.

But at the end of the day, maybe I’m a romantic after all for I think there is something inherently mysterious about falling in love – romance is a gift from God. No amount of retribution theology or formulaic living creates it. And like Job, sometimes we do everything right, and we just strike out.

So, I’m leaning towards a progressive theology. If “happiness hit her like a bullet in the head” why can’t love? Ultimately, I’m going to go with faith and trust that like God’s grace, we can become filled with the Spirit at any point in time. Amen.

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